How to use social media for global travel safety updates

The Business Journals | April 18, 2016

Business travel in today’s world can be a risky business, and global security can be a constantly changing situation.

Just last week we were reminded of the danger when more than 30 people were killed in a terrorist attack in Brussels, including at the Brussels Airport. At least two Americans died in the attacks.

As you travel, social media is an excellent way to keep up-to-date with the latest travel safety information.

The organizations below can provide a large amount of information to help make your next trip overseas a safe and healthy one.

There are several social media platforms available to get travel safety information on your phone. I am going to limit this list to two of the most popular: Facebook and Twitter. The organizations below may also be found on other popular social media platforms such as LinkedIn, YouTube and Flickr.

Although they don’t fit cleanly in the “social media” arena, I also added RSS feed links where applicable. If you have an RSS reader on your smart phone, this offers an additional or alternate method of getting travel risk information.

U.S. Department of State travel information

The Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs publishes passport, emergency assistance, and travel safety information. Consular Affairs also offers the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) that is worth checking out.

Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC)

OSAC recently celebrated 30 years as the liaison for security information sharing between the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomat Security and the U.S private sector. OSAC does not have a Facebook page, but some of the subordinate country councils do.

OSAC also publishes detailed reports and alerts for constituent members. Ask your security manager if your organization has an OSAC account to see more detailed information.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The CDC publishes notices about diseases and outbreaks overseas for travelers. CDC published several notices about the Zika virus world-wide.

They are also publishing notices and tips to stay healthy if you are attending the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

CDC has several RSS feeds. I listed the feed for travel notices below.

U.S. Embassies and Consulates

Most U.S. Embassies and Consulates maintain Twitter and Facebook pages. They use these channels to distribute information specific to their respective areas, including travel alerts and other risk information for US citizens.

If you are having trouble finding the Embassy or Consulate on Facebook, go to their web page (they ALL have web pages) and click on the Facebook icon. As an example, these are the pages for the US Embassy in Argentina.

By Bob Falise, TATE Global

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